Art & antiques by Dr. Lori

I have advised many people that when it comes to selling your unwanted vintage collectibles, you have to think outside of the box. Why?

Many people have the same unwanted objects that you do and they want to cash in on them with ease, too.

Did you know that party planners and prop shops are two outlets looking for various objects from the world of antiques and collectibles?

Antique party accessories

To cut costs at wedding receptions, baby showers and parties, many brides-to-be, florists and caterers are on the lookout for some relatively common vintage items and they are looking for them in big numbers.

For example, vintage white milk glass pieces, decorative teacups used as small floral centerpiece groupings and old silver plated trays for food service are coveted by caterers and party planners.

Many grooms will seek out sports collectibles, vintage flasks, beer collectibles and liquor bottles to serve as gifts for ushers and groomsmen in a wedding party.

Brides prefer to provide her attendants with vintage fashion accessories like hair accessories (ribbons, barrettes, hair bands, etc.), scarves and beaded or metal mesh purses.

TV antique trends

When TV executives need an object from bygone days, where do they look? Prop shops – the ones that provide the major movie and TV production crews with those obscure objects that you see on film – always are looking for items like vintage jewelry, period appliances like avocado green can openers from the 1970s and vintage clothing and accessories.

Prop shops often are used for period TV shows like “Mad Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and the new sitcom set in the 1980s, “The Goldbergs.”

You don’t think that Christina Hendricks spends her free time searching flea markets for Jackie Kennedy-esque brooches? And where does Dr. Sheldon Cooper get his ever growing collection of vintage Star Wars collectibles?

When it comes to considering the resale of your vintage collectibles and accessory pieces, consider party goers and production house set professionals.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.

Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel’s “Auction Kings.” Visit, or call 888 431-1010.

Art & antiques by Dr. Lori

Recycling, reusing, and repurposing are the buzz words in the antiques game right now.

I have been advising my audiences at my more than 150 antiques appraisal events across the country that appraisals of your aging objects are more important now than ever before.

Why? In great numbers, people are considering old objects as the basis for a fun re-do project.

Before you transform that old treasure, get an appraisal to be sure you are not unknowingly decreasing its value by changing that piece for the better or worse. Collecting always is of interest as evinced by the photos of my big audiences of fans of all ages posted on Facebook and Pinterest.

Yet, the process of collecting a particular antique item from a certain category of collectibles has taken a back seat to the process of putting a vintage or antique item into immediate use as an addition to the existing home or office decor or as a home design project.

Now, most people are not collecting for collecting’s sake as they did in the early 2000s.

From the buyer’s standpoint, this is a great time to negotiate with dealers, re-sellers, and other traders. Why? It always is smart to negotiate.

I say always negotiate when you are trying to buy a work of art, antique, or collectible.

With the state of today’s economy and the renewed interest in home decorating, make-overs and re-designing, your vintage objects are playing more than one role right now.

These aging objects are seen as fine collectibles as well as the basis for craft or re-purposing projects.

Those items which were, about 10 years ago, seen as damaged or poor condition antiques made their asking price firm.

These less than perfect antiques and collectibles required re-upholstery, refinishing or reworking.

Now, these are the same objects that become a topic of a negotiation with a seller because buyers see that condition can be transformed.

Many collectors in the middle ranges of the market – not the folks who are paying out a couple $100K for a work of high end art – desire objects that can be the object of their re-purposing project.

What may surprise many people is the number of young buyers in the vintage art, antiques, and collectibles market now. I mean young buyers – really young.

I have elementary age school fans who watch me on TV with their grandmothers. There is one seven year old fan in Puerto Rico who warms my heart.

She wears white gloves like mine and appraises objects at her relative’s houses during family get togethers.

Yes, from tweens and teens searching yard sales and flea markets (like I did as a kid with my dad) to the 20-somethings who are all about assembling objects from the 1920s to the 1980s for their first homes.

The young adults, like my college-aged and newly-married nieces, are looking to antiques and vintage objects to decorate their new urban spaces, to inexpensively redecorate their new family homes and to re-consider the options of using and re-doing grandma’s old sofa. Change is a sign of the times.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.

Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel’s “Auction Kings.” Visit, or call 888 431-1010.

Art & antiques by Dr. Lori

I frequently present my antiques appraisal events in the southern United States. The region is rich in history and particularly the stories of the slave trade, the Civil War and the heroes of the 19th century come to life in objects from that region of America.

Small objects and keepsakes can say a lot about history. A small item, a copper tag that was worn around the necks of some people of color known to be slaves during the late 18th century until the end of the Civil War, speaks volumes about the background of our union.

In Charleston, S.C., slave owners could rent out the services of their slaves to others for a fee. The registration fee for slave tags brought income to the city of Charleston.

To oversee the slave trade, slaves in Charleston were required to wear a slave tag or identification marker. Fees for the tags, like a license, were set based on the abilities and skills of the slave.

A serial number related to the individual slave. The tags further noted the slave’s occupation, and annual date of issue. By law, the slave tag had to be worn at all times during the calendar year marked on the tag. Most tags were made of copper by silversmiths or blacksmiths with a contract to make tags for the city.

An authentic slave tag included the city “Charleston” in raised lettering in an arched shape at the top of the tag near a punched out hole for the rope to wear around the slave’s neck.

Most slave tags measured approximately 2 inches square and were worn in a diamond orientation.

Tags included a one-word description of a slave’s skill such as “porter,” “servant,” “fisher” or “huckster.”

The tax year in raised numbers such as “1829” or “1841” also was found on authentic slave tags.

Also, an authentic slave tag had a unique serial number for one individual slave only.

There were laws in place in the early 1800s, which allowed slave owners to hire out their slaves.

These laws were in place in southern cities including Mobile, Norfolk, New Orleans and Savannah.

But, the only southern city that had a strict regulatory method for keeping track of these slaves was Charleston. One requirement known only to slaves in Charleston related to the use of slave tags, which are highly collectible today.

Authentic slave tags command from $75 to $3,000 depending on condition, occupation noted on the slave tag and date of issue.

Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.

Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel’s “Auction Kings.” Visit, or call 888-431-1010.

Art & antiques by Dr. Lori

Sometimes you can teach an old dog a new trick. In this instance, I am the old dog.

After years of working in museums and trying to light a fine work of art or an antique in the most flattering and least damaging way, I learned something new. I was working in museums back when we struggled with using hot halogen lights or ugly old fashioned fluorescent lights to light artwork or antique objects. Neither solution did the job very well.

Everything is different today when it comes to art and antiques lighting – in museums and at home. LEDs are the wave (or diode, as the case may be) of the future.

Most of us use a modern version of the same light bulb that Thomas Edison invented back in the 1800s. Edison’s bulb is the standard issue, inexpensive light bulb that gives off a yellow or amber color light. We still use them today and they work. Sorry historians out there … I hate to tell you but Edison’s bulb is now a thing of the past.

There are many options when it comes to lighting your home now.

Colorful light

The color that your light bulb gives off is important when it comes to lighting your artwork and antiques. Some lights give off white light, some yellow, and some blue.

Of course, it depends on what a light bulb is lighting and how the light looks to your eyes. When it comes to color shift, the human eye can perceive color differences of 10 percent from lights, so the color that the bulb gives off matters when it hits your blue Wedgwood teapot, your silver serving tray or your red Chinese lacquer boxes.

LEDs (light emitting diodes) are basically a computer chip that emits light when energized. They have been around since the 1950s. I first learned about them in a museum when curating a museum exhibition of the work of American artist, Jenny Holzer. Holzer used LEDs as her art in the 1990s.

In 2002, an Asian company came up with the first white LEDs for residential use and the rest, as they say, is history. These LED lights look like strips with little round points of light on them. There is an adhesive on the back of the LED strip that can be installed almost anywhere – hiding above crown molding, under cabinets, around doors, beneath window sills, etc. It seems as if this innovation in lighting will make it a snap to light your foyer sculpture, your cookie jar collection, or the collectibles in your china cabinet.

Light up the antiques

It is the china cabinet application that made me interested in LEDs. Edison’s light bulb and those terrible white hot fluorescent lights in your mud room, basement or garage give off heat and lots of it. Because of LEDs, the hot china cabinet is a thing of the past. How many times have I advised my audiences of antiquers to avoid putting the hot lights on in your china cabinet in order to show off your collectibles, Waterford crystal, or Hummel figurines? I’ve said that the lights in the china closet get too hot and the heat can cause damage to your display pieces.

LEDs do not emit damaging UV rays or intense heat, so that means that you can install these neat, nearly invisible LED light strips anywhere and they will not cause the kind of serious damage to your antiques or collectibles that other light bulbs can.

Discuss your specific needs with a lighting professional to get the best result. LEDs will cost a little more, but the new applications are exciting for decorators, antique lovers, collectors, and art enthusiasts. Now we can show off our old treasures in a new light.

Celebrity Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.

Dr. Lori is the expert appraiser on Discovery channel’s “Auction Kings.” Visit www.DrLo, www.Facebo or call 888 431-1010.